Taipei, Sept. 8 (CNA) Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his gratitude to Taiwan for its citizens' concerns about the suffering of Japanese people from a strong earthquake and a severe typhoon.
In a message posted on his Twitter page Friday night, Abe wrote in Chinese that he was very grateful for the concerns from many long term friends in Taiwan about the damage caused by a series of natural disasters in Japan recently.
Abe's Twitter posting came after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said in a Twitter message written in Japanese on Thursday night that Taiwan was ready to send a rescue team to help Japan after a strong trembler hit the country on Thursday.
The magnitude 6.7 earthquake rocked Hokkaido at 3:08 a.m. Thursday, triggering a landslide that engulfed houses, injuring and trapping dozens of people and cutting power to millions across the prefecture.
According to a report from Reuters, the death toll rose to 20 on Friday with 19 others still missing.
The quake came after Typhoon Jebi, the strongest to hit Japan in 25 years, swept through western Japan on Tuesday, leaving 11 people dead and more than 600 injured.
"I am very grateful for the sincere concerns from many long term friends in Taiwan," Abe said. "People in Japan are trying hard to rescue the victims of the damage (caused by the disasters) and to reconstruct the affected neighborhoods."
"Natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes are our common challenges. And I hope we will work together to conquer them and go through the difficult times," Abe added.
In her Twitter message, Tsai said: "As a friend of Japan, Taiwan hopes it can help Japan go through such a difficult time. Taiwan has an obligation to do so."
She added: "Taiwan is ready to send a 40-member special search and rescue team and have two relief dogs with necessary equipment on standby... We will continue to lend support to Japan."
In addition to the Twitter message, Tsai has instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey her concerns and condolences to Japan and has expressed hope that the impact of the trembler will be minimal.